Embrace Your Unique Dance Style
If no one has told you today...
Your movement expression is valid.
What does that mean?
It means that you don’t have to be a cookie cutter dancer. You can embrace your one of a kind quality.
At the same time, it means that as your teacher I’m still going to address your sickled foot. I will still hold you to the established standards in your classwork. I will still expect you to learn from those who came before you.
But, it also means that you have something unique to offer the world. Your unique nature is worth exploring.
Martha Graham’s now famous message to Agnes DeMille has always stayed with me:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ...
What you are creating or the way that you move might not look like anyone else.
Good for you. The world needs this.
But, I would be wrong if I neglected to tell you that your unique style may not get you a professional job.
You might have to create your own opportunities.
I was told several times that I wasn’t a corps dancer. At first I was thrilled. I stood out- my presence could hold attention and move the audience. But then I realized that there was no position between where I was and where I wanted to be. If you can’t get hired for the corps, what can you do until you’re able to dance as a soloist?
Your task (which was also my task) is to continue to learn. Continue to grow, find opportunities to perform, teach, and share who you are through movement.
If you can persevere, you will find your place and your community. My career is proof of that. It may not look the way that you expected, but you will have time to shine.
Keep going. We’re all waiting to see what you discover in movement.